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Setting up IAVS in Pudkkottai district of Tamilnadu India

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  • Setting up IAVS in Pudkkottai district of Tamilnadu India

    Hi all,
    a little bit about myself. I am part of an NGO which has been teaching organic farming for 30 years now, although i myself only joined a few years ago so when i have doubts i have access to many experts in the field. my father in law who started this NGO is one of the most knowledgeable people you can find in the organic agriculture field, and has been a part of the Tamilnadu movement to bring educated people back to farming right from the beginning.

    Although im new to this forum I have been experimenting with aquaponics for about 7 months now. I was introduced to IAVS by Gary and i immediately fell in love with it. it fulfills all my criteria for low cost farm scale aquaponics for profit, infact i was in the process of designing a very similar system built into the ground using HDPE pond liner plastic but with gravel instead of sand and id like to thank Gary from saving me from that nightmare.

    So far i have a design i have finalised on for an IAVS which spans 1 Cent of land (1% of an acre) and if i can prove the concept works i also have a plan to start a 5 cent variant. and finally once that is successful it can be made into a single module of 5 cents which can be repeated no matter what the area. (i choose 5 cents because then the fish tank would end up around 20,000 litres which i do not think is wise to exceed)

    My plan is to start an open air IAVS and as the income comes in use that to build the greenhouse above it. so far as per my calculations my investment for the one cent IAVS is about INR 15-20,000. which is the same as i spent for my backyard aquaponics unit with a growbed size of only 17sft. in contrast by building it in the ground the 1 cent growbed is working out to be 440 sft of grow area, with a fishtank of around 5000 litres.

    furthermore i do not want to grow vegetables in the IAVS i want to grow rice, the income from the rice im hoping will offset the 15-20,000 initial investment within the first harvest, as i will be combining it with all the traditional rice growing practices i already know of to increase yield.

    the first obstacle i face is to find someone who can lay the HDPE pond liner plastic for me in a conical shape for the fish tank. for such a small size no one is willing to come to the farm to do it. which means i need to do it myself, which is risky because i may not be efficient at welding two sheets together with a heat gun.

    fingers crossed. looking forward to a lot of fun and learning.

    Mehdi

  • #2
    Welcome. RE: Pondliner, there are options other than HDPE (many more flexible and durable).
    Use one piece and fold it, not welding (that's a challenge and source of trouble you don't need).

    Make a table-top model of the tank shape and experiment with folding/fitting technique (plastic film or cloth) until you find what works best. Then when it comes time to doing it at scale you'll have the process already in your head making it far easier.

    For projects of small to medium scale and of short duration (3--6 months) I've used several layers of very cheap builder's polyethylene sheeting ( 5 to 6 mil range), Does not hold up to UV well and not puncture resistant at all but it is water tight and CHEAP as dirt (here anyway). Something to consider for demo/trial scale.

    Also are you familiar with the commercial and research iAVs systems in India? TMK, at least 15 in the past 2 years and 15-20 more claimed in planning stages

    For some examples, see the Facebook page "Sandponics - The Future of Food" (scroll down for some photo sets)

    Do try to avoid fast-talking, overtly-opinionated, aspiring gurus (with 700% mark-ups on materials) ... if at all possible ... you will thank me later.

    just noticed " ... 440 sft of grow area, with a fishtank of around 5000 litres."
    1st, try not to mix units - suggesting using metric exclusively
    2. that is about 41 m2 with 5 m3 tank. IF sand beds are 1/3 m deep then the bed volume is 13.7 m3
    which makes for a bed to tank ratio of about 2.75:1 - probably closer to 3:1 with allowance for freeboard in tank.
    You'd then need a fairly high feed input rate to generate enough waste for that much grow-bed
    meaning a proportionally high stocking density ... with aeration to match depending on species and yield expectation
    3. What plant species (or mix) to you intend. Different crops make different nutrient demands, What fish feed (composition)?
    4. What are the characteristics (metrics) of your sand, did you test it, where did you get it and what was the cost.

    PS: for other viewers, INR 20,000 = approx. US$310
    Last edited by Gary Donaldson; 04-14-2018, 04:52 PM. Reason: GD inserted a link to Sandponics Facebook page.
    "There are in fact two things, science and opinion: the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance." ~ Hippocrates, "Law", 400 BCE

    Comment


    • #3
      hi Mark,
      sorry i didnt see your reply until today.

      pond liner im getting a 200 micron sheet for INR 43 per m2 which is working out to about inr 5k which is acceptable from price point of view, i do want it to be a long lasting model, so i can later use it to run all my experiments and not have to touch the bigger units. the soil in my farm is soft clay so im hoping 200 micron will be good enough otherwise 500 micron is 4 times the price. i am however still open to the idea of using 500 micron only under the granite sand as that will be heavy but id rather not. can you recommend any other durable materials other than HDPE?


      1. sorry about the confusion in units, in india we use metric as well as imperial on a regular basis, and its always a hassle to convert but ive grown up using feet instead of meters so when i need to imagine a length that is stated in meters i need to first convert it to feet before imagining it. but yes i do have the figures for meters as well in my notebook because i need to keep converting between the two so in future ill post only metric

      2. There seem to be some discrepancies in size due to the conversion of unit sizes, specially since i rounded off numbers in my original comment. however im aiming for 2:1 media bed / fishtank ratio as suggested elsewhere on this website. i am however still going to be experimenting with my fish density, also airation. please suggest.

      2. for airation im currently looking into making something along the lines of o2grow myself (https://www.o2grow.com/) as a means of cutting down on the electricity demand of the system. (hopefully in the future it will be 100% solar) but worst case scenario ill be forced to use a regular air blower.

      3. for my trial i plan to monocrop rice. for which im still looking into nutritional requirements but i will be making my own floating feed as i already have a giant noodle extruder from another project that didnt take off which is capable of extruding about 120 kg of feed every hour. also before the IAVS i intend on having goat on the farm as well and there seems to be a good demand for good feed pellets for goats in the market as well which im hoping will be another source of income. im still looking for recipes but there is a government run goat resarch station i know of which gives this information to farmers for a reasonable price so i intend on learning compositions and techniques there and applying the same information to fish feed later on.

      4. i havent gotten my sand yet, that stage will come after i lay out the pond liner, people here like to bargain so i wont get the right quotation unless i am actually ready to take the shipment the same day. but the unit is being setup in a place with atleast 5 granite stone crushers within a few kilometers of my farm so simply because of less transport my costs will be greatly reduced. i do intend on following your sand particle size guide religiously but final figures can only be known after i get my sand. i tested the sand available at the quarry with vinegar and ensured there was zero reaction.

      i will definitely look into sandponics facebook page, i need all the ideas i can get.

      thank you for taking the time out to reply to my messages.
      best wishes
      Mehdi

      Comment


      • #4
        rice is a monocot (grain), not herbaceous nor fruit/vegetable (dicots).
        https://www.diffen.com/difference/Dicot_vs_Monocot

        I'm not an 'expert' on grains but I understand that they tend to have proportionally different nutrient demands than do the dicots.
        I also have no idea what rice yields per unit area/time are ... nor what its market value might be in your area.

        I can say that fruits such as cucurbits, melons, peppers and tomato would almost certainly produce 10 to 30 more product by weight x area/time.

        And, that here rice is so very cheap and fresh fruit is expensive. I can buy 25 lbs of rice for $6 to 7, however just 1 lb of organic melon or tomato is $3to 6 depending on season.

        I'd guess that producing fruits could be 50 to 100 times more valuable (market value here) than rice could be. So, you might want to re-think that!

        On fish feed, not only does the diet (input) need to be digestible/metabolized in appropriate amounts by the specific species being grown, but also the 'waste' out of the back end needs to contain all the plant essential elements (except Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen to a lesser degree since fish generate NH4 as a product of respiration.

        Plant essential elements : https://organicsoiltechnology.com/es...r-plant-growth

        as with any system - particularly biological organisms - one can not get out what hasn't gone in
        Last edited by Mark McMurtry; 04-18-2018, 10:04 AM.
        "There are in fact two things, science and opinion: the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance." ~ Hippocrates, "Law", 400 BCE

        Comment


        • #5
          Banana and Corn are monocots as well but both have been successfully grown with aquaponics. banana however i hear is quite tricky. someone showed me a video of Murray Hallam (Also based in Australia so you might know him), it was probably one of his promotional videos for His aquaponics design course. in which he visited an aquaponic banana farm. he mentioned a secret to get it right but didnt disclose it in that video. when i discussed it with others they mentioned its probably potassium. in any case a little bit of experimentation is needed.

          The reason i chose rice though is because of two reasons.
          1) there is a minimum support price for rice declared by the government of india which is in the range of INR 20-25 per Kg. Since any amount of rice you produce will definitely find a customer, this crop does not require any marketing and therefore this becomes a baseline from where we can progress further onto other crops and better marketing. defining a baseline will be useful to make the calculations for profitability and return on investment based on this. I am hoping using IAVS in conjugation with Systematic Intensification method of growing rice (SRI) my yield will be sufficient to break even in the first crop itself. (3 months)

          2) Due to Drought, water scarcity is currently a big problem here. States are currently fighting it out in court as to who should get access to water from the river, it even went as far as riots last year burning government and private vehicles belonging to the other state to protest a delay in judgement. Most of the agricultural water used by farmers is for rice. All of the water used will be rainwater and hence it will completely remove our dependence on ground water. IAVS may make it possible to grow not one but several crops of rice a year even with the diminished rainfall.

          I understand the fish feed will need to be carefully formulated for this purpose. and i am open to any suggestions from anyone.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ishrati View Post
            Banana and Corn are monocots as well but both have been successfully grown with aquaponics. banana however i hear is quite tricky. someone showed me a video of Murray Hallam (Also based in Australia so you might know him), it was probably one of his promotional videos for His aquaponics design course. in which he visited an aquaponic banana farm. he mentioned a secret to get it right but didnt disclose it in that video. when i discussed it with others they mentioned its probably potassium. in any case a little bit of experimentation is needed.

            The reason i chose rice though is because of two reasons.
            1) there is a minimum support price for rice declared by the government of india which is in the range of INR 20-25 per Kg. Since any amount of rice you produce will definitely find a customer, this crop does not require any marketing and therefore this becomes a baseline from where we can progress further onto other crops and better marketing. defining a baseline will be useful to make the calculations for profitability and return on investment based on this. I am hoping using IAVS in conjugation with Systematic Intensification method of growing rice (SRI) my yield will be sufficient to break even in the first crop itself. (3 months)

            2) Due to Drought, water scarcity is currently a big problem here. States are currently fighting it out in court as to who should get access to water from the river, it even went as far as riots last year burning government and private vehicles belonging to the other state to protest a delay in judgement. Most of the agricultural water used by farmers is for rice. All of the water used will be rainwater and hence it will completely remove our dependence on ground water. IAVS may make it possible to grow not one but several crops of rice a year even with the diminished rainfall.

            I understand the fish feed will need to be carefully formulated for this purpose. and i am open to any suggestions from anyone.
            You are correct about both corn and banana being monocots -
            However, I have not seen any - much less compelling - evidence of 'success' with those crops if that is determined by yield.

            WRT Hallam, Gary knows him personally and I vicariously (and regrettably).
            IMO he is a total fraud, con man, liar and delusional self-righteous idiot. Albeit an effective one.
            Apparently, that's "just me"

            You obviously understand your local conditions and markets far better than I ever could or will ... so who am I to argue.

            Best of luck to you on your journey.
            Please do keep us informed of your progress by creating you own thread in the iAVs section below.
            "There are in fact two things, science and opinion: the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance." ~ Hippocrates, "Law", 400 BCE

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks, will do.

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